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The Weekly Bern (6/5/2020): June 9th Elections

The June 6th Primaries went significantly better than I expected. I’m not going to say that they were excellent or anything given that, as with the past few primaries, a lot of progressive challengers got squashed. Kimberly Graham and Mckayla Wilkes both performed way below expectations, and the only major winners in congressional races, with exception of Teresa Legar Fernandez, were those running unoppossed or for the nomination in red states where all the odds are stacked against them in the general.

But there are some good things to come out of this recent election, the one that you’ve most likely heard of being that insane bigoted scumbag Steve King lost his primary. While the current Republican nominee for his district is only a slight improvement over King and will undoubtedly vote the same way, it means that we have one less wannabe fascist in DC, and simply being rid of him will mean a lot. That being said, it now means that it’s going to be harder for progressive Democrat J.D. Scholten to flip this seat, but if his fundraising numbers are any indication, it may not be impossible.

On another note, remember how I talked about the Progressive Pennsylvania Project in the last update? 5 out of the 7 candidates won their primaries. Summer Lee has successfully defended her seat against her corporate challenger, and four dogs in the PA state legislature have been put down (technically five since homophobic, anti choice incumbent Harry Readshaw decided to forgo re-election and Jessica Benham’s victory was against his equally scummy replacement Heather Kass). Add to the fact that Jerry Dickinson managed 32% of the vote without the the backing of any national organizations, and it becomes apparent that PA is becoming more progressive, which means a lot considering its status as a vital swing state.

But don’t relax just yet, we have more elections on our hands. We have primaries occurring in Georgia, Nevada, North Dakota, South Carolina, and West Virginia. Of these five states, West Virginia is going to be the main event for progressives. While West Virgina has had a high rate of Republican partisanship, it is also important to remember that Bernie won every district in this state in 2016.

Perhaps the most vital race will be the West Virginia Gubernatorial Race. Progressive Gubernatorial candidate Stephen Smith is not only neck and neck in the polls with his neoliberal opponent, but he has also sparked the “West Virginia Can’t Wait” movement of progressive candidates running for office. If Stephen Smith wins the nomination in this race, there is a strong chance that he can win considering that incumbent Governor Jim Justice is currently tanking and because West Virginia has trended towards Democratic Governors for the past few years (Jim Justice won as a Democrat and switched parties less than a year later).

On top of that, there is the Senatorial Race which ALSO has a prominent progressive candidate running, that candidate being Paula Jean Swearengin. She is noteworthy for having challenged incumbent Blue Dog Joe Manchin and having managed more votes than any of the Republicans did in their primary. This was a pretty significant performance for a first attempt, and she has now been given significantly more exposure due to being featured in the Knock Down the House Documentary. She’s also the most likely to win the nomination if her funding is any indication, but the Republican incumbent Shelley Moore Capito may be harder to beat since her approval rating is fairing better than Jim Justice’s.

Lastly, there are progressive candidates in all three congressional districts between Natalie Cline, Cathy Kunkel, and Hilary Turner. This ultimately means that there is a coordinated progressive movement going on in West Virginia, and movements like these are what we need in order to make a dent. If any one of these candidates motivates someone to show up to vote, then they all could very well benefit from it.

Stephen SmithDonation Link
Paula Jean Swearengin – Donation Link
Cathy Kunkel – Donation Link
Natalie Cline – Donation Link
Hilary Turner – Donation Link

The next most significant state is Georgia, which also has a Senatorial election. Unfortunately none of the major candidates seem to support Medicare for All (Maya Dillard-Smith has no chance of winning, and I still wouldn’t vote for her even if she did because she’s a fucking TERF). The establishment has basically decided that Jon Ossoff will be the nominee, but Teresa Tomlinson seems to be the best out of the main three so I guess vote for her. I’m not very enthusiastic about this race if you can’t tell.

The most noteworthy race is in Georgia’s 7th congressional district, where the establishment has decided that the nominee will be 2018 nominee Carolyn Bourdeaux, but we also have a major progressive challenger with Nabilah Islam, who has the endorsements of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ro Khanna, Ilhan Omar, Marianne WIlliamson, Abdul El-sayed, and Jason Carter, in addition to that of Brand New Congress, Matriarch, Our Revolution Georgia, and Millennials for Bernie.

While Bourdeaux currently has the edge in funding and name recognition, there is hope in the fact that Georgia is a runoff state, meaning that Nabilah Islam only needs to get 2nd place to advance to a runoff, which will give her more time to build up more funding, endorsements, and name recognition. Other progressive Democrats running for congress in Georgia include Lisa Ring, William Haston, Barrington Martin II, Andrew Ferguson, Michael Owens, and Kevin Van Ausdal.

Nabilah IslamDonation Link
Lisa Ring – Donation Link
Michael OwensDonation Link
Andrew Ferguson – Donation Link
William HastonDonation Link
Kevin Van Ausdal – Donation Link
Barrington Martin II – Donation Link

Next in the line of significance is North Dakota that has a progressive challenger in its sole congressional district. Zach Raknerud seems to be the current front runner for the nomination, but considering that he has only raised $5,930 compared to Republican incumbent Kelly Armstrong’s $703,315, its going to be a long shot race either way.

Zach RaknerudDonation Link

In Nevada, all four congressional districts have a progressive challenger, but the only one with a realistic shot at winning is district 2’s Clint Koble. Unfortunately, Koble may have blew his load too quickly because he only has $1,374 on hand, while his neoliberal primary opponent still has $174,500. This means that if Koble wins, it’s going to be an uphill climb to raise enough money to compete with Republican incumbent Mark Amodei and his $534,089 stash. The other three progressives are Anthony Thomas Jr, Gary Crispin, and Gregory Kempton.

Clint Koble – Donation Link
Anthony Thomas Jr – Donation Link
Gregory KemptonDonation Link

Lastly, we have South Carolina, where we have only one progressive candidate. The candidate in question is Kim Nelson, who is running unoppossed for the nomination to take on incumbent Republican William Timmons. Thus far, Nelson has raised $72,852 while Timmons has raised $851,913. The plus side is that Nelson has already raised more than Timmon’s 2018 challenger Brandon Brown, so she will likely do better than he did. The down side is that it may not be enough to be competitive.

Kim Nelson – Donation Link

Anyway, there’s your brief run down on the next round of elections. Hopefully we can get a few more victories out of this round as well.

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0 thoughts on “The Weekly Bern (6/5/2020): June 9th Elections

  1. I am wondering why reports of Bernie “gaining on Biden have been appearing. Is he still in the race, without campaigning, or is he waiting to see what happens. Maybe the current amazing protest against police brutality has got his juices flowing again!

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